As we wait—patiently or otherwise—for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to actually say something substantial, or to hear about him contacting the team, we continue to hear reports from others about what he may or may not be thinking, and the latest comes from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
“Antonio Brown respectfully declined comment on trade developments through a rep, but after talking to people close to Brown, my sense”, he wrote on Twitter: “he’s open to either option. Good to play w/ Steelers if it shakes out that way, but also open/eager to showing he can flourish in any offense”.
Antonio Brown respectfully declined comment on trade developments through a rep, but after talking to people close to Brown, my sense: He’s open to either option. Good to play w/ Steelers if it shakes out that way, but also open/eager to showing he can flourish in any offense.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 11, 2019
Brown has gone ‘live’ on social media twice since the regular season—and the Steelers’ season—ended last year. He first surfaced while hanging out with former Steelers linebacker James Harrison while Head Coach Mike Tomlin was giving his end of season press conference. Harrison said that he would have an exclusive interview that never surfaced.
Yesterday, Brown was back live on social media, smoking cigars with former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, with whom he has been friends for years. He addressed the Harrison interview, saying that it was a joke, and added that he would be responding soon, saying that his actions will speak louder than words.
We have heard from some sources that Brown wants to be traded, and from others that he doesn’t. Now Fowler says that he is open to either possibility. Split the difference, I suppose. But it may actually be the one that is closest to the truth.
I’m sure all parties would ultimately prefer to stay put, but everybody involved in the situation also understands that in order for that to happen, changes need to be made, and that will require changes not only from Brown but from the team as well—and perhaps from Ben Roethlisberger, if reports about the wide receivers’ relationship with him are to be believed.
While he may be one of the greatest players in the NFL right now, there is good reason for the Steelers being open to trading him. His behavior ultimately culminated in him going AWOL at the end of the 2018 season, which resulted in him missing a critical finale that could have gotten the team into the playoffs. They barely won that game against a week opponent at home.
Despite all the turmoil, Brown still put up big numbers, catching 104 passes for 1297 yards and a league-leading 15 touchdowns in 15 games. Heading into his age-31 season, he still has a lot to offer any team that he is on in 2019, whether that is the Steelers or elsewhere. And according to Fowler, he would be fine with either result.